If you find that OneDrive is slowing down your PC, but you prefer to keep using it, you can try troubleshooting OneDrive. For information on how to do this, see Microsoft’s “Fix OneDrive sync problems” page.
- 12 Ways to Improve Gaming Performance on Your Laptop
- Keep Your Laptop Clean and Dust-Free to Improve Gaming Performance
- Run a Tune-Up Utility
- Limit Startup Processes
- optimise your settings in-game
- Defragment your hard drive
- Remove unneeded autoloaders
- Stop resource-hogging processes
- Shut off Windows tips and tricks
12 Ways to Improve Gaming Performance on Your Laptop
Want to improve your laptop gaming performance? Here’s how to improve your laptop’s performance and make it easy to run your chosen games.
Your premium gaming laptop will never match the performance of a gaming desktop at a similar price. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play the latest games. Rather, it puts extra pressure on you to make sure your laptop is optimized for gaming.
For desktop computers, you can upgrade your hardware. Laptop users have limited upgrade options. So what can you do to improve your laptop’s performance? How do I speed up my gaming laptop?
Here are 12 ways to optimize your laptop gaming setup in Windows.
Keep Your Laptop Clean and Dust-Free to Improve Gaming Performance
Want to know how to improve gaming performance on your laptop but don’t have the technical skills? Just wipe it clean.
With a proactive approach to physical maintenance, you will enjoy better laptop performance. Dust and dirt are the enemies of performance. This debris will reduce airflow, making the computer too hot.
When the heat becomes hot, the CPU, GPU, and most other components will slow down. This is not an effective gaming machine.
The best way to deal with it is to remove the dust. Of course it is not easy. Your laptop is likely sealed, and if it isn’t, opening it will almost certainly void your warranty. The solution is to use very specific cleaning techniques.
But not only the vents on the laptop need to be clean. If you use your keyboard regularly (the staple of computer games), it’s important to make sure there’s no dust, food, or other substances that can be caused by sticky keys.
When it comes to getting the best gaming performance, you don’t want a dirty screen either.
The default configuration settings in Microsoft Windows 10 sacrifice GPU performance to save energy. You can change this by adjusting the graphics settings.
Run a Tune-Up Utility
Jeffrey Wilson of PCMag meticulously evaluated the best third-party speed-up and cleaning tools for Windows 10. He found that most of them actually boost your PC’s performance, even if it’s just a slight performance boost. Of course, there are plenty of malicious downloads that claim to speed up your PC, so stick to Wilson’s list of tested products. The Iolo System Mechanic performs best in its tests, but the others are worth taking a look at because of their range of features and price points.
While things are improving, unnecessary pre-installed software installed by PC manufacturers is still a problem on some new computers. A few years ago, the Lenovo computer we tested had almost 20 so-called helper programs that would occasionally and inadvertently pop up and interrupt what we were doing on the computer. Recently, the number of pre-installed unnecessary software has decreased. The new HP laptop contained only nine of these applications, while the latest Asus model only had five. However, even Microsoft is not without fault with this game, including a few games from King, and possibly mixed reality software that you may not be interested in.
You can simply right-click on any tile of the unwanted application in Start and select Uninstall. This will immediately uninstall the program. You can also right-click the Windows logo Start button and choose the best selection of Programs and Features. Or, just type Programs in the Cortana search box next to the Start button.
Usually, the culprits can be found by sorting the list of installed applications by the name of the computer manufacturer. Other good options are sorting by recent to see if there are any programs you didn’t know were installed; or by size to get rid of very large items you don’t need. When you find unnecessary applications that you don’t want, just select them and click Uninstall. Unfortunately, you can only remove one at a time, so set aside about half an hour for this project if you have tons of bloatware. Don’t forget to bring the ax to the apps you installed yourself but no longer want, and in the case of software you don’t want, it was installed along with the software you wanted.
Remember that there are two types of applications in Windows 10, traditional desktop applications and modern Windows Store applications. You’ll see both types on the Apps page and features of the modern Settings app. But for non-Store applications, the Control Panel opens, where you can uninstall good old desktop programs. In both cases, you can sort by size, install date, or name, or search for a specific app.
One of the reasons why uninstalling an application improves performance is because many programs load processes at startup and take up precious RAM and CPU cycles. While in the Programs and Features section of the Control window, you can also click Turn Windows features on or off and scan the list to see if there’s something you don’t use. For more information on what to remove read How To Remove A Computer From Crapware.
Limit Startup Processes
As mentioned in the previous post, many programs install side processes that run every time you start your computer, and some of them aren’t things that you need to run on your system all the time. Compared to Windows 7 where you had to run MSCONFIG, Windows 10 (and previously Windows 8.x) provides an easier way to restrict what runs at startup – with an updated Task Manager.
The easiest way to bring up the Task Manager is to press Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Go to the Startup tab and you will see all the programs that load when Windows starts. The dialog even has a column that shows the startup impact for each. The Status column shows whether the program is running at startup or not. You can right-click on any entry to change this status. It’s usually pretty easy to see things you don’t want to run. For example, if you never use iTunes, you probably don’t need iTunesHelper running all the time.
This will bring up another dialog with two sections. And yes, it’s confusing. Begin at the bottom of the Summary of Selected Locations dialog. Click any of these options to change the contents of the top Change Selected Locations section .
optimise your settings in-game
If you’ve tried all possible optimizations and are still not getting the frames you want, then consider reducing the graphics settings in your games to increase the FPS. Some particularly demanding general settings in games include Render Distance and Texture Quality. Lowering your screen resolution is also an option – choose resolution scaling if the game has an option, allowing you to run games at a lower resolution while keeping the HUD and menus at their native resolutions, which can look quite unsightly if not kept at native resolution.
If your hardware is armed with an RTX graphics card, you will be able to take advantage of the GPU’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) feature. By enabling Nvidia DLSS in compatible games, you should be able to achieve higher FPS without compromising visual fidelity. This is achieved by dynamically scaling the textures and then rebuilding them with AI technology.
Of course, if you are fighting for the red team, you can also use AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), a similar scaling solution that should also help you increase the performance of a compatible game.
If you have an SSD and a hard drive, you’ll always want to install Windows on an SSD, then any other games that benefit from increased solid-state speeds, if there is space – a special mention for Cyberpunk 2077 that recommends SSD for the intended experience.
Defragment your hard drive
We always recommend using the best gaming SSD if you want your games to run fast, but if you’re still using a mechanical hard drive you’ll need to defragment it whenever possible. However, if you’re only using a high-capacity SSD, defragmentation isn’t necessary – data spread across different sectors of an SSD doesn’t slow down access speeds as there’s no physical drive head like there’s a hard drive.
You should defragment your hard drive once a month, which you can configure automatically
When data is added and removed on a conventional hard disk, empty disk space is separated. If a new file is then added, its data may become fragmented over multiple sectors of the disk, increasing the movement of the disk head, reducing access speed, leading to slower load times in games or generally when loading any file on your computer.
Defragmentation should be performed once a month, preferably – it moves all system files to one sector and groups all empty disk spaces. This reduces the distance the disk head has to travel to open the file because everything is in one place, speeding up access times. In Windows 10, it’s really simple – just type “defragmentation” and hit Enter on the Start menu, select the drive you want to defragment, then click Optimize. You can set Windows to defragment it automatically.
Laptop gaming performance depends largely on your computer’s hardware, drivers, and configuration. But if you are playing online games, there is another element to consider: the speed of your internet connection.
Remove unneeded autoloaders
Many programs want to load automatically each time they start. Each of them slows down the startup process and some still slow down Windows.
They are not all bad. Your antivirus should load at startup and run as long as your computer is on. Other programs that need to run in the background, such as OneDrive, should also load automatically.
But some programs – even the good ones you use a lot – don’t really need to be run all the time. You don’t want to uninstall them, but you may want to stop them from loading automatically. Earlier, we reported an issue with the Epic game store quietly destroying the battery. (This problem has already been fixed with a patch.) Even so, the fewer services competing for computer resources, the faster it will run.
Task Manager can show you all the programs that load automatically on boot and help you choose which ones to keep.
To see how bad the situation is, right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager. Click the Startup tab. (If you don’t see any tabs at the top of the window, click More Details in the lower left corner.)
The Startup tab will show you all the autoloading programs. As you browse the list, consider which programs don’t really need to be running all the time. To stop autoloading, right-click its entry in the Startup tab and select Disable.
If you don’t recognize the autoloader name, right-click on it and select Search Online to find more information.
Stop resource-hogging processes
Your computer may be running a poorly written process that consumes a lot of resources. To find out, right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager. (If you don’t see any tabs at the top of the window, click More Details.)
The task manager can also tell you what programs and processes are eating up your resources.
On the Processes tab, click the CPU column heading to sort by CPU usage. The most important items will be those that consume the CPU. (If all topmost processes are using 0%, the processes are sorted in the wrong direction. Click the column header again.)
Don’t assume the top process is necessarily hog. Some large applications are worth CPU cycles. One way to manage these programs is to close them when you are finished. Another is to switch to a smaller program. Be careful when closing processes! Some may be critical to Windows or may accidentally close the program you are working in.
You can close the process from the Task Manager. Select the process and click the End task button and confirm your decision. Be careful if Windows warns you that the process is critical to Windows.
When you are done, click the Memory column header and repeat.
If that’s not enough, check out our dedicated Windows gaming performance guide for more information. And if that still isn’t enough, try streaming games from a cloud gaming server.
Shut off Windows tips and tricks
When you use a Windows 10 PC, Windows watches what you are doing and offers tips for things you may want to do with your operating system. In my experience, these “tips” are rarely, if ever, helpful to me. I also don’t like the privacy impact of Windows that constantly virtually looks over my shoulder.
Windows watching what you are doing and giving you advice can also slow down your computer. So, if you want to speed up things, tell Windows to stop giving you advice. To do this, click the Start button, select the Settings icon, and then go to System> Notifications & Actions. Scroll down to the Notifications section and uncheck the box “Get tips, tricks, and suggestions while using Windows.”